Have you and your family decided to hire a nanny? No doubt you have put a lot of thought into what you are looking for and what you want from a nanny, but understanding the process of hiring can be confusing, not to mention the safety precautions that should be taken. At NannyCity, we have put together a comprehensive guide on what steps you should take to make sure you hire the best nanny for you and your family’s needs.
Decide What You Want
The very first thing you should do when deciding to hire a nanny is to sit down and get a clear idea of what exactly you are looking for from a nanny. Write down what duties you want to be performed, what the nanny’s daily schedule will be like, how much childcare, housekeeping, errands you need to be performed, what times you want them to start and finish and finally what salary you intend to offer them for those duties. The more time spent on this stage the fewer headaches you will encounter in the rest of the process, and the more likely it is that you will hire the best nanny.
Take a look and the nanny sevices that are offered by nannies placed with NannyCity for some inspiration on what tasks you might want your nanny to perform.
Choose How You Intend To Recruit
The best choice when looking to hire the best nanny is contacting an established nanny placement agency to go through the process with (fees range between 15-22% of annual salary), but other methods of recruitment can include online nanny/babysitting services, online advertisements, mommy chat rooms, notice boards and recommendations from friends.
If you plan to recruit a nanny yourself, you should be spending at least 40 – 50 hours from beginning to nanny’s first day at work researching to ensure you select the best choice for your family.
If you plan to go through the hiring process for a nanny yourself, you must set up a process by which you will receive applications – either by email or voice mail. Make sure that each candidate matches your minimum requirements – they are available for the hours needed, they are within a reasonable commuting distance (less than 1 hour), they have the necessary experience (especially caring for kids your kids’ ages) and their salary expectations are in line with what you are offering. You’ll find quite a few excluded in this part of the process.
Once you have shortlisted the candidates to roughly less than ten, you can begin the process of setting up telephone interviews. Conduct these interviews at your convenience so that you can properly discuss your job requirements and see whether it matches the candidate’s experience. If you don’t have a resume by this point you need to get a brief job history on the telephone with contact numbers for at least one reference.
Try to get a ‘feel’ for their personality on the phone – are they upbeat, matter-of-fact, evasive on dates of previous jobs, having difficulty with getting reference numbers. Make sure you pick up on any nuance in the conversation –conduct these telephone interviews in a quiet area of the house/office. Call one reference for each candidate that you decide you want to meet in person.
This stage of the hiring process is where many parents get fooled, so conduct this very carefully and systematically. Don’t just call references – interview them. If you’re doing this on your own you are relying solely on this telephone conversation with a total stranger to vouch for this person’s experience.
Find out how they hired them in the beginning, what their daily duties were, did they have any emergencies, what was their judgment like, do they still stay in touch with the kids, why did they leave, would they hire them again if the need arose and they were available. Spend as much time as possible on these calls – probe, probe, and probe. Do not just accept a cell phone number for a reference.
Get a home telephone number, work telephone number, home address and work address. You need to get a good picture of what that working environment looked like and whether it’s similar to the one you have.
There are two perspectives to this step – many feel as though you should conduct an initial in-person interview in a neutral place, like Starbucks or your office, however, others feel this is of little importance. We typically prefer to see how a candidate conducts themselves in the home and how comfortable they seem there even interacting with the kids. We also feel that it can be better to have your spouse around if they are available as they will always pick up on stuff you may not catch. After all, you’re likely going to be too focused on asking all the questions!
Firstly, did they arrive on time and were they appropriately dressed? It’s vital that you have previously asked the candidate to bring along a photo ID and a copy of any references and/or resume they may have. The photo ID must be original. Make a copy if you have a scanner/copier and keep any other documents you receive. There may be a risk that they are using someone else’s identification so it’s vital to be careful here.
Discuss each job they have worked in getting specific dates, ages of children, specific duties carried out, reasons for leaving etc. – one of you should take very careful notes here. This is all part of the screening process. Get a picture of the different parenting styles of previous employers and whether it matches your intended style, concerning discipline, reading, naps and feeding. You should be using these notes to verify the info against the other references you intend to check.
Personal chemistry is what you’re looking for once it’s established that the candidate has all the necessary qualifications and/or experience. How they respond to questions and interact with parents and the kids is what puts some candidates over the top. These interviews normally last about an hour if they are someone you are interested in. We will cover the in-person interview questions in more depth in another post in another blog.
At this point, you have typically narrowed your choices down between two candidates. Some parents like to bring the two candidates back for a working style (paid) interview for either a few hours or a whole day. Given that they are a total stranger to your kid(s) after all, they shouldn’t try to force interaction that day. It’s better just to ask them to go with the flow and just observe from a distance. This can be a nightmare for nannies because it takes a while for the nanny to bond with any child. This can be a useful exercise to see how the nanny and YOU interact.
Having gone through the entire process outline above, you have hopefully decided whom you prefer and have decided to make them an offer. It’s vital that when you present an offer, that you have specified the finer details such as their expected duties, hours, salary, benefits, vacation, holidays, overtime and personal days. It is advised that you create a written agreement that both parents and nanny sign and date. The offer should be subject to a successful background check. Ask the candidate for written permission to conduct a check.
Nanny is Hired – Congratulations!
Congratulations, by following the above steps you have hopefully found a nanny that perfectly suits your family’s lifestyle and dynamic. Keep in mind though that the process may take a while. Be patient though, the ideal nanny is sure to be out there.
Contact NannyCity Today
At NannyCity, we have successfully placed 1000s of experienced nannies with happy families across Brooklyn, Manhattan, Connecticut and Greenwich. We take all the hard work out of helping your family find the perfect nanny that suits all your needs. With no long-term contracts, NannyCity is the best choice if you’re looking for a flexible childcare solution.
Get in touch today to see how we can help you hire the best nanny for your family.